After an emergency surgery in the dead of the night to remove the bullet that was endangering her life, the condition of 14-year-old Malala Yousafzai stabilised.
However, her security remained a cause for concern with the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) on Wednesday morning issuing a detailed justification for attempting to kill her.
Ms. Yousafzai — who was shot at and grievously injured by the TTP in Swat on Tuesday — was operated upon at night in the midst of preparations to shift her overseas for treatment. Late on Tuesday night, doctors at the Combined Military Hospital (CMH) in Peshawar had advised that she be taken overseas and President Asif Ali Zardari had issued directions immediately for shifting her. Even after the surgery, the Pakistan International Airways had an air ambulance ready and waiting at the Peshawar airport to shift her to Dubai at short notice.
Amid continuing articulation of rage and disgust at the shooting of a teenaged girl who had spoken out against the Taliban through a diary written under a pseudonym, Chief of Army Staff Ashfaq Parvez Kayani visited CMH to enquire about Ms. Yousafzai’s condition. In a statement released after the visit, he said: “The cowards who attacked Malala and her fellow students have shown how low they can fall in their cruel ambition to impose their twisted ideology.”
Reiterating the nation’s resolve to fight terrorism, he added: “It is time we further unite and stand up to fight the propagators of such barbaric mindset and their sympathisers.”
The TTP, which claimed responsibility for the attack, said she had been targeted not for advocating girls education but for preaching secularism and enlightened moderation. It said education of girls must be based on the Shariah.
The National Assembly suspended the order of the day to discuss the attack on. Protests were held in various cities to condemn the targeting of a child who had represented hope for Pakistan because of the way she had spoken out against the Taliban when it had over-run the Swat valley.
All schools in Swat were shut in reaction to the shooting even as the incident prised open questions about the Army’s claim to have flushed out terrorists from the valley.
For the second day running, Ms. Yousafzai was trending on television and social media with many a Twitterati using her photograph as their profile picture to express solidarity with the teenaged beacon of hope and victim of the hate agenda; knowing full well that even if she recovers, her life would remain under threat.